Emails at Western Washington University Encouraged Violence Against Black Students


Western Washington University officials are investigating racist threats directed against Black students last weekend, the latest of several recent incidents of bigotry on campus that also targeted Jews and Muslims.

In addition, the student government president said on social media that a racist caricature denigrating Black people was drawn in chalk at Red Square in the center of the WWU campus.

WWU students and staff were informed of the incident via text message through the university's Western Alert system, according to the university's website Monday, Nov. 21.

"On Saturday, students in three courses received a racist email encouraging violence against Black students. The message is deeply offensive and strikes at the heart of our values and community," said the online message from Brad Johnson, university provost, and Jacqueline Hughes, WWU's chief diversity officer.

WWU's police and information technology departments are investigating the incident, the message from Johnson and Hughes said.

"Care and compassion for everyone impacted by this circumstance is very important, and we encourage all members of the campus community to reach out and support one another," their message said.

In a Monday post on Instagram, Sargun Handa, who is president of the Associated Students of WWU, said the racist threats were made via the university's Canvass online learning platform.

"People who commit bias incidents and spread hate at WWU can and will be held responsible," Handa said.

Her Instagram post offered links to campus resources and urged student to report hate speech and racism to the WWU Bias Response Team.

Meanwhile, campus officials said there was no immediate threat.

"We are relieved to share that there are no other indicators of an elevated risk of racially-targeted violence on campus. If more information becomes available, we will notify the campus community," Johnson and Hughes said.